Atlanta woman shares massive Barbie collection with world
Note: Beverly Parker passed away Wednesday morning. We're grateful that she shared her story with WTHR before she passed.
An Indiana woman's dying wish is to share her childlike fantasy with the world.
Beverly Parker has kept her real-life doll house to herself for nearly 60 years.
"It was meant to be. I feel like someone has a calling. That was my calling," said Parker, a resident of rural Atlanta, Indiana.
Parker, 62, has been fighting breast and ovarian cancer for 27 years. A collection of medicine on the dinner table shows that it's taken its toll. But medicine isn't all she's been collecting.
There are the bears on the bedroom wall, the Air Force medals next to her on the bed and the ornaments in her living room.
"Through all my illnesses, it's helped me, collecting all this. When I was sick and not feeling well, I could come out here and look at my Barbies," she said.
More than 1,000 of the iconic American dolls in all, dating back to 1962. In fact Ken, now in his fifties, comes complete with a receding hairline.
It all began when Parker's father helped some friends move to Bloomington back in 1959.
"She didn't pay him with money. She paid him with a Barbie. 1959 Barbie, that was my first one," she said.
"It goes way back to when she was a little girl. She's sure been precious to me. The time is getting so short," said Parker's mother, Mary Lockwood.
"This was every girl's dream growing up and to see the look and smile on her face when she showed others," said social worker Terri Davis.
That is why everyone got so much joy when Parker was able to get out of bed for the first time in two weeks on Tuesday, to get wheeled down Barbie Doll Avenue.
She was speechless. Everyone banded together to create an entire new second room full of Barbies, most of them still in their boxes. So many Barbies that it's actually hard to move with hitting one.
So many Barbies, so little time.
After about 15 minutes, it all proves too much for Parker. She asks to go back to her room, but not before mother and daughter, who both share this fascination, share a hug.
For that instant, they forgot all about the 90 chemo treatments and the ten surgeries. Then reality returns as three caregivers come to help her get back into bed with, you guessed it, a Barbie blanket.
"It was given to me after my last surgery. It keeps me warm. I keep it close," Parker said.
As for the one thing she thought most people would say about her collection?
"How did they get everything into those two small rooms?" she laughed.
After all she has gone through, Parker says she is at peace, and it is little wonder why - she lives in a doll house.